WFH or work from home was initially used as an abbreviation in digital communication to notify colleagues that someone will be working from home instead of reporting to a physical place of business. WFH suddenly came into our consciousness due to lockdowns imposed due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
WFH is part of the broader concept of telecommuting, also known as teleworking, mobile work, remote work, and flexible workplace.
According to Wikipedia, some organizations adopted telecommuting to improve workers’ quality of life, to have a better work and life balance, and for environmental reasons. Sounds good.
But why is it that only 10 percent do WFH, according to a Reuters poll? Some answers may be found in Screenshot Monitor.com, where Ross Sudentas wrote a blog titled “Pros and Cons of Working from Home vs. Working from the Office.”
WFH: The pros
1. Time saved equals more “me time.”
The biggest advantage of WFH is that you save a lot of time commuting back and forth to work. You can spend extra time with your children or spouse or read instead of sitting in traffic, and start your day calmly instead of being stressed to rush to the office. Finding extra “me time” in the mornings can make you happy and, therefore, a more productive employee.
2. Control of the working environment.
You have the ability to create your own working environment. With no cubicle walls defining your space, you have the freedom to choose your home office location.
3. Define your hours.
With no time clock, you can start and stop your day as you please. You can get started a little earlier or take a few extra minutes during lunch. As long as you work your required hours and get your job done, there is no harm in shifting your schedule a bit.
4. Business is very casual.
Video conferences only show you from the waist up. If the mood felt right, you could wear a suit shirt and shorts or pajama bottoms. When you don’t have to video chat with anyone from your office, working in a tee and sweatpants is possible.
Work from the office: The pros
1. Motivation for career growth.
When you work in an office environment, while you have supervision and restrictions, you have knowledge and support from your bosses and colleagues. Being in a competitive environment might encourage you to perform better, helping you to excel in your field, and ultimately your place in the organization.
2. Immediate feedback.
If you are in an office and you have a question, you can stand up and walk over to someone’s desk and ask. You can personally collaborate with your colleagues on a project.
3. Social network.
Having a social life is very important. Having lunch with your colleagues, catching up with one another, going out for happy hours—these are all positive and rewarding activities.
Associations are social networks and face-to-face interaction is essential. Because of the Covid-
19 experience, perhaps a “hybrid” WFH scheme can be developed, with “non-contact” staff (e.g., newsletter writer) doing WFH and “contact” staff (e.g., training officer) working in the office.
The column contributor, Octavio “Bobby” Peralta, is concurrently the secretary general of the Association of Development Financing Institutions in Asia and the Pacific the Founder & CEO of the Philippine Council of Associations and Association Executives. PCAAE is holding the Associations Summit 8 on November 25 and 26, 2020 at the Philippine International Convention Center which is expected to draw over 200 association professionals here and abroad. The two-day event is supported by Adfiap, the Tourism Promotions Board, and the PICC. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more details on AS8.